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Donald A. Rakow is named director of Cornell Plantations

Donald A. Rakow has been named the Elizabeth Newman Wilds Director of Cornell Plantations, which administers the arboretum, botanical garden and other natural areas of Cornell University's Ithaca, N.Y., campus. He had been acting director.

As director of the university's outdoor museum for living plants, Rakow will lead efforts to continue to beautify more than 2,900 acres of awe-inspiring gorges, manicured lawns framed by venerable structures and exquisite botanical gardens, as well as keep up with the latest in arboretum technology.

In September, Cornell Plantations received a $112,500 grant from the federal Institute of Museum Services. The grant came at a critical time for the plantations, said Rakow, since it was the only one of 27 grants bestowed to botanical gardens in New York State.

"Plantations is currently engaged in a comprehensive evaluation of our educational programs and physical facilities, planning for the future," Rakow said. "These funds will help us further the review and planning processes to better meet the needs of our audiences, particularly the Cornell community and the regional public." More than 100,000 visitors tour Cornell Plantations annually, an activity which last June gave rise to a new book, Cornell Plantations Path Guide . For visitors prepared with comfortable walking shoes, the guide provides instructions for enjoying the seven miles of beautiful paths.

Rakow has served as associate director of Cornell Plantations and also holds an associate professorship of landscape horticulture in the Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Prior to that, he was a horticulture extension agent with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Broome County, N.Y.

Rakow received his master's degree and doctorate from Cornell in the Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture. His research focused on determining adequate dimensions of street-tree containers in order to meet a tree's water needs. He received his bachelor's degree, cum laude, from the State University of New York at Albany.